Friday, July 08, 2005

Psycho Mommy!

"Cranky" isn’t going to cover it today. "Psychotic" may be closer to reality. I need to be contained or subdued or whatever it is they do to animals in the wild that have become “unmanageable.” Oh, where to begin? Should we start with the leaky roof over the family room? Why not.

Last night we had a “flash flood" type of affair, leftovers from Hurricane Cindy, and MZA crawled out onto the roof, at 2:30 in the morning, in the rain, and applied plastic, moored with bricks. My heart officially stopped as he crouched out on the roof. I stood there to offer a hand—somehow, anyhow—like Jimmy Stewart in “Vertigo.” And I would have been just as effective. That’s when you start doing weird calculations in your head like, “If he falls, he will hit the shrubbery and so…but there’s the concrete walkway…but it’s not that high…I could leave the kids with the neighbors across the street…first call 911…right.” He came back inside. Wet, cranky, worried. The primal prairie reaction of a man protecting his home and family against the elements. Back to his wife, nervous, acrophobic Jimmy Stewart. Hi honey!

This morning was dank, gray and rainy, just the sort of Friday morning we all feel like bounding out into! Hooray! Ian thoughtfully left a half-finished bowl of cereal that I emptied into the sink with a resounding CLUNK, as a whole bowl full of coins, hidden within the opaque milk, fell into the disposal. Thanks Ian! So I fished out the coins, imbedded in the metal works of the disposal—along with mushy bits of yellow squash from last night, squishy Sugar Pops, all coated in a light milky/watery film. No really, THANKS IAN!

This caused Mommy to get “scary,” in that Joan Crawford/wire hangers kind of way when the voice goes up about 12 octaves into shrill psycho range and I turn on Nick, because he’s right there, and say “Why were these coins on the table?!?” Because nothing can be left in Ian’s path. “Things” become like straws in Ian’s tumultuous path. Books are shredded, dolls have all the air pushed out of them, we call it being “Iannized.” He has a uniquely adept ability to break or maim almost anything! Resulting in the “Ian Opera” which goes something like this: “Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan, STOP IT!” This refrain can be heard on all levels of the house. Replace “Stop it” with “You’re driving everyone crazy,” any old expression of abject frustration/rage/disbelief will do. Which is not to say he’s not the sunniest, lovingiest bunny in the world—he is. He doesn’t mean to destroy everything in his path. He just doesn’t know his own strength. Or something.

When the nanny comes, Nick and I are poised at the door like Olympians in a relay race, ready to pass the baton and surge to the car to MAKE THE CAMP BUS. Nidia arrives and we exchange brief pleasantries like “Hi, don’t turn on the disposal. Goodbye.” And head for the Beltway, which is never crowded on a Friday, but because it’s raining and no one wants to take the Metro after the bombings in London, it's jammed.

We pull into the camp drop-off lot with two minutes to spare AND YET the bus is pulling out of the driveway. I stop the car and wave frantically, like a GOON, violating every mother-son pact there is about not embarrassing the kid in front of everyone. But Mommy is psycho this morning, so the handbook has been thrown out the window. All bets are off. It’s take no prisoners time. The bus driver mimes signing a clipboard, at which point I almost board the bus and we come close to having another sequel to “Speed,” with me in the Dennis Hopper freak role. Yup. “I'm taking the bus! Look out kids! Don’t be embarrassed Nick!”

In my frantic scramble toward the bus, I will have you know, a parent in a car behind me has the audacity to honk, as though perhaps she cannot surmise what is happening—that a scary Dennis Hopper Mommy on the VERGE is trying to get her son, who has a Very Important pie eating contest today, on the bus for camp. I decide to leave that honker to a higher authority because I am sure there will be divine justice for that infraction. Nick races for the bus and I tartly inform the driver that I will SIGN THE CLIPBOARD.

I walk up to the friendly fun counselors looking, I am quite sure, like Jack Nicholson when he gets really pissed off in “The Shining,” lowered head, glowering eyes, crazy half smile. You remember. They kind of nervously giggle and say, “Hee hee, it was cold, so we let the kids get on the bus and it left a little early.” Well girls, what a capital idea! On a rainy Washington Friday when parents are frantically battling the elements and all the cell phone jabbering Beltway morons! Fortunately, before I can unleash my full Linda Blair pea soup fury, a daddy behind me, whose kid has not made the bus, steps forward. Ouch. Daddy looks m-a-d. Disgruntled. Postal.

I skulk away; proud of my psychotic Incredible Hulk adrenalized fury that managed to get my kid on the bus. I decide to let Postal Daddy handle the ire for the morning. I need a treat. As I walk off, I can hear Postal Daddy saying, “I have a real problem with this.” It’s fun to silently hand the anger over to someone far more angrily rational. Left to me, I would dissolve into weird crazy tears or something. Or loony invective. Something wholly ineffective. Postal Daddy has it in hand: I have a real problem with this. Good one Postal Dad! Good luck getting your kid to the new camp locale they're shuttling them off to this morning because of the Residual Hurricane!

My “treat” is an unconscionable stop at McDonalds, where my kids don’t even want to go anymore because it’s so disgusting, for a sausage biscuit. It’s true. Since McDonald’s and no other store along the way traffics in Valium or Oxycontin or any other sort of brain numbing potion, I have to settle for a vile, temporary fix of grease and cushy, biscuity insulation.

P.S. In the middle of my psycho morning rage, when I was looking for my other shoe (future postings will deal with "looking for keys," "the other shoe," etc.) Nick came up to me, this was after I screamed at him for leaving coins in Ian’s path. He said, “Thanks for all your help, Mommy.” I said, “I know I’m being awful. I’m just really stressed out.” And he said, “No, I’m serious Mommy, you’re doing a great job. Not every mother would want to pull coins out of the disposal.” Crrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrack—that’s the sound of my heart breaking. Thanks Nick. You’re a dude.
P.P.S. Nick won the pie eating contest!


Cynicism is another word for reality

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